Home | News    Thursday 3 May 2007

US to send $30 million in military aid to South Sudan govt

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May 3, 2007 (WASHINGTON) — President George W. Bush approved a second $30 million (A22.1 million) installment of military aid to southern Sudan’s autonomous government, the White House announced.

The money is to help upgrade the region’s former guerrilla force, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, into a conventional army, develop a defense plan for the region, establish a protective service for southern Sudan’s president and high-ranking officials and create a police force and intelligence service.

"The United States has a critical interest in facilitating security sector reform in southern Sudan," National Security Council spokeswoman Kate Starr said in a statement.

The SPLA, ethnic African non-Muslims, fought a 2-decades-long war against the mainly Arab central government in Khartoum that ended three years ago. The conflict, separate from the Muslim-Muslim violence in Darfur, Western Sudan, was blamed for more than 2 million deaths, primarily from war-induced famine and disease.

To give the money to southern Sudan, Bush had to waive a section of the U.S. Arms Control Act that prohibits giving military aid to countries that sponsor terrorism.

While Sudan remains on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror, southern Sudan qualifies for the waiver because it has had its own regional government under the 2004 comprehensive peace agreement that ended the civil war. Under the agreement, the region can hold a referendum in 2011 on whether to become an independent country.

(AP)

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